Howling’s Colure is a Tale of Musical Fusion

Rosie digs into the nuances of the duo Howling’s sublime sophomore album.

As original and unique as ever, Howling’s second studio album, Colure, graced the public ear on July 24th. 

The album is a true sonic journey, mixing acoustic artist RY X’s angelic vocals with Frank Wiedemann’s eclectic electronics- a sound transcendent enough to make you feel weightless. 

 

Having teased us with a double single featuring five tracks from the album, it is incredible to finally see how the rest of the album is pieced together. 

 

 

‘Ellipses I’, the short opening track, is a serene, lyricless introduction to the album. Showcasing Wiedemann’s gift with electronics, the track layers repeated phrases on top of synth drones to create a minimalist style. ‘Pieces’ is the song that follows, bringing RY X’s vocals into the mix and placing them at the forefront whilst accompanied by a jittering bassline. The lyrics are particularly notable in this track, reflecting the complexities of longing and desire: 

 

‘I’m heavy in my own descent / Tethered to a raging fire / Turning on your hiding place / Feeding for my own desire’. 

 

The following four tracks, ‘Bind’, ‘Healing’, ‘Dew’ and ‘Need You Now’ are familiar as songs featured on the previous double single. The former two tracks are more relaxed musically, with vocals being the focal point, whilst the latter two are heavier in their use of electronics. ‘Dew’ in particular uses electronic, minimalist phrases which are reminiscent of musical masterminds such as Philip Glass and Steve Reich

 

Starting in a soft piano ballad before descending into upbeat electronics, ‘The Water’ is a song that showcases the duo’s ability to create a perfectly paced dynamic. This is a sombre track which leaves you anticipating the next sound. ‘Light On’ is also a track that particularly spoke to me. The piece is sung angelically against hauntingly low harmonies and potent drones, with shimmering cosmic sound effects appearing at unpredictable times. 

 

With a whopper of a track, Howling then gifts us with ‘Phases’. At 8 minutes long, the song is experimental and showcases the artist’s structural genius. A chilling beginning acts as the introduction, merely toying with vocals and effects such as audio panning- this is guaranteed to send shivers down your spine. We are then thrown into the depths of the track, stripping back to vocals and drums before ascending into the musical climax which closes the song, merging the vocal effects from the beginning back into the track. 

 

 

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new record out this friday excited to share with you all – out on @ninjatune / @counterrecords – photo – @eliot_lee_hazel

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The finishing tracks are tranquil and drive home the artistry of the duo’s combined sounds. ‘Mother Mother’, ‘Body Inside’ and ‘Lover’ are songs which particularly spotlight RY X’s vocal skills, displaying his vocal highs and impeccable vocal control amongst the midst of electronics and eclectic sounds. ‘Lover’ is a lyrically melancholy track which I’m sure will hit home for many: ‘I’m alone when you step back / All I want is a part of your heart, now / All I want is a better lover’. 

 

‘Ellipses II’ brings the album full circle. Like the opening song, this track is short, sweet and devoid of lyrics, yet brings listeners down from the sonic highs of other tracks. However, the track is a perfect ending, featuring heavy uses of synth and also utilising hypnotising, cosmic sounds assured to send you into a peaceful trance. 

 

 

Although Howling has established a very distinct sound, Colure never left me feeling bored. Minimalistic styles have the potential to sound samey, yet the duo continues to diversify their sound palette and engage listeners with their unlikely fusion of acoustic and electric styles. 

Colure is out now on all streaming platforms and, I assure you, it is not devoid of colour!

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